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ANZAC Day in Gallipoli – A Dedication

A few thoughts and words from our few days attending ANZAC Day in Gallipoli where we commemorated the ANZAC Soldiers killed in World War I.

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ANZAC Day Chunuk Bair Memorial

97 years ago on the 25th April 1915 tens of thousands of men and boys, most younger than me,stood on the shores of Gallipoli Peninsula. Britain had asked for something that could never be given back. Britain asked for what are now known as; The ANZACs.

ANZAC Cove Gallipoli

ANZAC Day in Gallipoli – ANZAC Cove

These ANZACs, or more specifically the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, were lured to the shores of Turkey during World War I by the sense of adventure, travel and the glory of war. What the ANZACs didn’t know 97 years ago was that more than 10,000 of them would never see their families again. All in the name of protecting our nations.

For that, we are eternally grateful.

ANZAC Day in Gallipoli

We can only begin to imagine what must have run through the minds of those soldiers as the dawn broke across such a magnificent landscape. Was this the adventure that they sought months ago in New Zealand.

ANZAC Cove sunset

ANZAC Day in Gallipoli – ANZAC Cove sunset

At the beginning, probably. By the end of the first day, I think not.

Sitting in the cold at ANZAC Cove overnight on the 24th April we feel lucky to have our sleeping bags to keep us warm. While all they had was courage and the beginning of what would become the birth of a nations identity.

ANZAC day in Gallipoli is a pilgrimage for Kiwi’s and Australian’s. Every year thousands of young, and old, travel thousands of kilometers to the same shores that many of our grandfathers and great-grandfathers stood all those years ago. There is a strong need for us to see where our heritage comes from.

The 9 months in the trenches of ANZAC Cove also created strong bonds that have become known as “mateship“. It is a bond between those men in the trenches that was born from the need to form a lifeline to your home and family through your friends. Living and dying in such hellish conditions halfway around the world will quickly create that unbreakable bond.

And I believe that is why so many survivors refuse to speak of what happened during World War I.

Shrapnel Valley ANZAC Cove

ANZAC Day in Gallipoli – Shrapnel Valley

ANZAC Day in Gallipoli Dawn Service

As the dawn breaks, the darkness that grips ANZAC Cove is broken while the silence is broken by a high pitch Waiata (traditional Maori word for song) welcoming us to the ceremony and commemorating those that were lost. Just as it was on the 25th April 1915 the beautiful shoreline of the Aegan Sea and rugged steep Turkish cliffs at our backs are revealed in the morning light.

Beauty surrounds us everywhere on Gallipoli Peninsula and we cannot comprehend how such a place of stunning wilderness could have seen so much bloodshed. The ground beneath our feet must have run red with the blood spilled from so many ANZAC and Turkish soldiers.

Our sleep filled eyes are quickly forgotten as you suddenly remember what we have come to Gallopoli for. We have come to honour those who fell on distant shores. And honour we do.

Once the dawn service has finished in ANZAC Cove it is a tough3.1 km slog uphill to the Lone Pine, site of the Australian service. And then another 3.2 km further up to Chunuk Bair, the site of the New Zealand service. Huffing and puffing in the early morning light under the scorching sun we have to keep reminding ourselves that this is nothing compared to what our soldiers went through.

Chunuk Bair ANZAC Cove Gallopoli, ANZAC Day in Gallipoli

ANZAC Day in Gallipoli – New Zealand Memorial at Chunuk Bair

I don’t know how you could but try to imagine that uphill slog with an 80 pound backpack. Oh yea, don’t forget that your friends are falling in the hundreds around you and bullets continue to fly around your head. Any second could be your last. Like I said, pretty hard to imagine.

Reaching the individual and personalised ceremonies is a really special feeling. Being surrounded halfway around the world by thousands of your fellow countrymen is a very moving experience. In fact, there is probably nowhere else in the entire world where New Zealander’s and Australian’s have such strong ties to a country.

A final thought.

Attending the celebrations, and I use the word celebration for all it is worth as it is a celebration of countries coming together, was a very moving and once in a lifetime experience for us. Being able to share it with our fellow Kiwi’s and Australian’s will forever hold a special place in my heart.

The most amazing feeling that I took away from the entire experience was that we were not even in our own countries. Here we were standing on the Turkish shoreline remembering a war in which so many of our own soldiers killed Turkish soldiers. But we are continuously welcomed. After so much horror for both sides we are still all able to come together out of a mutual and strong respect for one another.

For that we are thankful.

Lest we forget.

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. bronwen burmester

    April 28, 2012 at 4:09 AM

    Got shivers all over my body reading your Gallipoli account Cole, thanks.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 28, 2012 at 6:57 AM

      It was really nice and extremely moving Mum 🙂 Wish you guys could have been there with us too!

  2. Pete

    April 28, 2012 at 7:27 AM

    I had an interesting conversation with one of our good friends we have made here. Not knowing much about ANZAC day prior to our trip here, I was intrigued that so many people from Australia and New Zealand came here to honor and I questioned him if there had ever been a problem with accepting that they come to your soil to do so. Your last statement is what he could not piece together in English, it sums it up perfectly that it is a mutual and strong respect for one another.

    I am glad that you had the chance to attend, and it must have been emotional and powerful. I imagine it would be to the same effect as myself attending the ceremony in Normandy. Cheers guys, and enjoy some sun and water on the cruise.

    • Cole Burmester

      April 28, 2012 at 1:42 PM

      We have spoken to a lot of Turkish people as well and they are all the same. They love that we come here for ANZAC Day and actually realised that they need to do the same sort of thing so have created their own special monuments as well. There is so much history and passion around Gallipoli so both sides have done a great job of accommodating such a special moment.

  3. Laurence

    April 28, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    Visiting places like this always staggers me. The horrors that people endured, and for so long. I am always so grateful for the sacrifices made, but saddened that they were necessary.. and that somehow.. war still exists 🙁

    • Cole Burmester

      April 28, 2012 at 1:39 PM

      It amazes us that there is still wars as well. How can people be so stupid that we are still attacking one another!

  4. Laura @Travelocafe

    April 28, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    🙂 Learned something new. Great information about the ANZAC.

    • Cole Burmester

      May 7, 2012 at 9:30 AM

      Glad we could teach you something Laura 🙂 The more people that remember/commemorate these sorts of events and days then the better in our opinion!

  5. Ian [EagerExistence]

    April 30, 2012 at 5:38 AM

    Last year when I went, Chunuk Bair was the biggest memorial of them all, in terms of numbers. I guess its a small area anyway… but there was a mad scramble to get in and listen to the proceedings. How was it this year? How was the atmosphere at the Cove on the 24th? Electric eh? Especially as the sun comes up. Once-in-a-lifetime. Agreed.

    • Cole Burmester

      May 6, 2012 at 3:56 PM

      ANZAC Cove was brilliant during the build up. They had all the music and doco’s playing all night and then as the sun came up it became eerily quiet. Will remember it forever!

  6. Natalie

    May 1, 2012 at 5:04 AM

    Have you read the speech by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk regarding the event Cole?

    “Those heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives … you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours… You, the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land, they have become our sons as well.”

    • Cole Burmester

      May 6, 2012 at 3:59 PM

      They read it out during the commemorations and it really moved the entire crowd. Made us all realise just how special ANZAC Cove and Gallipoli is to the Turks as well. Thanks Natalie 🙂

  7. Ayngelina

    May 1, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    I hadn’t heard of this day until this year. We have something here in Canada like that although it’s very solemn, I get the impression in Australia it’s a big party?

    • Cole Burmester

      May 6, 2012 at 4:01 PM

      It is not so much a party as a celebration of our nations history but still very solemn and extremely moving for us. In the past there has been quite a bit of controversy at ANZAC Cove with drunk Aussies and Kiwi’s which is SO disrespectful. Luckily that has all changed and it is so much better for it now.

  8. Nina F

    May 3, 2012 at 3:47 AM

    Sadly, I don’t think the human race will ever be free of war. In the name of freedom and religion, we are still fighting ourselves.

    I had no idea about the meaning of Gallipoli and ANZAC. Thanks for sharing.

    • Cole Burmester

      May 6, 2012 at 4:03 PM

      No worries Nina. I am glad that we managed to teach you something about ANZAC Day 🙂

      Unfortunately I agree with you that I don’t think we will be free of war. How can we all be so selfish?!

  9. Ali

    May 5, 2012 at 12:21 AM

    Great photos. I can’t imagine what it must’ve been like for those soldiers, but I think it is so important to continue remembering what they went through for their countries. The horrible events of the past, no matter what form, are vital for improving the future.

    • Cole Burmester

      May 7, 2012 at 9:32 AM

      You definitely summed it up Ali! If we continue to remember then we will hopefully all learn from it 🙂

  10. Courtney Mroch

    May 7, 2012 at 9:57 PM

    I’m really bummed we didn’t make the trek to Gallipoli when we were in Istanbul. It seemed like a very remarkable place, and it’s even more remarkable what all happened there. Thank you for sharing this so I semi-sort of got to experience it … at least virtually.

    • Cole Burmester

      May 10, 2012 at 10:07 AM

      No problem Courtney 🙂 Hopefully you can return sometime soon!

  11. Turtle

    May 28, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    Beautiful story. A lot of people I meet don’t understand why we Aussies and Kiwis commemorate such a great loss. But that’s the whole point, isn’t it? It’s not the outcome but the bravery, mateship and patriotism that’s so important.

    • Cole Burmester

      May 29, 2012 at 9:54 AM

      Thanks Michael. I actually don’t like calling it commemorating because I think it should be a celebration. I know it’s not right to celebrate so many dead but to me that’s what ANZAC Day stands for now.

  12. Mary @ Green Global Travel

    June 13, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    Thanks for sharing this moving experience. Here in the USA, I hadn’t heard of ANZAC Day. It reminds me of the terrible cost of war to all involved.

    • Cole Burmester

      June 18, 2012 at 8:11 AM

      It is a really special day for all Kiwi’s and Aussies Mary so glad you know about it now :). It is ridiculous that in this day and age we are still fighting wars. I just don’t understand it.

  13. Tash

    April 25, 2013 at 5:17 AM

    I went in 2005 – an experience that stays with you forever, and brought back again and again every year. Such an important trip for all Kiwis and Aussies.
    Your post takes me back again, today – Lest We Forget

    • Cole Burmester

      April 25, 2013 at 7:27 PM

      Great to hear how it made you feel Tash 🙂 Glad I could bring some memories back for you!

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Adventure Travel

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

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Trekking through the valleys of Cappadocia’s fairy chimneys with Middle Earth Travel feels more like the set of a Star Wars movie than a historical region once carved out and lived in by humans. Churches, homes and pigeon houses are scattered throughout the valleys, all waiting to be explored. The best part is, Middle Earth Travel know all the hidden secrets.

Standing at the top of Cappadocia

Top of Cappadocia day trek – with Middle Earth Travel

On the 26th of July (which just so happens to be my birthday!) Middle Earth Travel took us on their private and guided Top of Cappadocia day trek. From Pasabag, along the top of Cappadocia and down through the Gulludere Rose Valley to Goreme, we trekked 15kms in one day! (We recommend getting your bearings with this map)

Upon arrival to the Middle Earth Offices, we were warmly greeted by our new friend Atil whom we had met a few days earlier while mountain biking through the Kizilcukur Red Valley. We were then introduced to our guide and given a briefing regarding the day. Normally, the Top of Cappadocia tour would start from Çavuşin, however, since we had already explored Çavuşin Castle, they adapted our tour to compensate ensuring we would explore new terrain!

With charged cameras, plenty of water and our running shoes on, we were driven to our starting point of Pasabag. We wandered through the fairy chimneys, coming across camels and markets – then the true hike began.

Pasabag in Cappadocia

The police station in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

Camel in Pasabag, Cappadocia

It was a slow and gentle incline. With no trees to provide shade, I quickly realised why our tour guide had chosen to wear fully covered clothing! As the sweat quickly set in (a waterfall in Moss’s case) we snapped away with our cameras and enjoyed the entertaining shapes of Imagine Valley and the amazing view. We also passed a lot of rock piles, which according to our guide mean ‘father’ and are built to help lead the way.

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Animal shaped formations in Imagine Valley

Middle Earth Travel, Cappadocia

Making our way to the top of Cappadocia

Father leading the way (rock pile)

Father leading the way (rock pile)

The higher we trekked, the more breath taking the views became! As we walked along the summit of Bozdag mountain (the Top of Cappadocia) we could see EVERTHING – Pasabag, Çavuşin Castle, Kizilcukur Red Valley, Gulludere Rose Valley and Goreme. We were on the Father of Valleys! After a quick nod of agreement to the guide, we pushed ourselves the extra distance and made our way to the flag, as this HAD to be the highest point and was definitely worth a photo and a selfie or two!

View from the top of Cappadocia

View from the top of Cappadocia

Flag at top of Cappadocia

From the flag we looked down upon Aktepe Hill which is known as a popular destination for watching the sun set and could spot Kizilvadi Restaurant, our destination for lunch! Kizilvadi Restaurant is an attraction of its own. With its own historic winery and Grape church, plus some Middle Earth Travel treks even stay there for the night! After having a massive feed of soup, salad and pasta plus a surprise birthday cake, we made our way down into Gulludere Rose Valley.

Kizilvadi Restaurant

Kizilvadi Restaurant

The scenery is amazing, with strong colours visible in perfect layers on the chimneys, you would wonder what an artist was thinking, had it been a painting. Also, hidden to the side of the track we walked across a little bridge and not expecting anything to be there we were wowed by the massive church carved. It was absolutely huge and hard to believe that its most recent use has been as a pigeon house!

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Coloured chimneys in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Pigeon houses in Cappadocia

Church in Gulludere Rose Valley

Hard to believe this Church is carved inside a fairy chimney!

Middle Earth Travel Review

  • The team at Middle Earth Travel were extremely knowledgeable and certainly know Cappadocia’s hidden secrets. They have friendships with local tea garden owners which is also of benefit as it gained us entry to locked churches and hidden rooms that we would not have otherwise seen.
  • We covered a lot of ground, however we did not feel rushed. The whole day focused on showing us the region, therefore we had as much time as we needed to explore each church and to take ‘just one more photo’.
  • It wasn’t all about trekking. With a whole day and 15kms to cover, there were a few silly poses (especially in Imagine Valley), and we learnt a lot about the myths, legends and way of life in Cappadocia.
  • In conclusion I highly recommend Middle Earth Travel if you wish to go trekking or mountain biking in Cappadocia.
  • Cost: Day treks with Middle Earth Travel range from 50-90 euro, depending on the number of people taking part. This includes lunch, guide, vehicle transfers and entrance fees to historical sites, but excludes alcoholic and soft drinks.
  • Middle Earth Travel are outdoor enthusiasts and offer multi-day over night treks, mountain biking, abseiling, or custom made itineraries, in multiple regions throughout Turkey.
  • www.middleearthtravel.com

Disclaimer: We were provided with a discount for the trek with Middle Earth Travel, however, as always our thoughts on our adventure travel blog our own.

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Europe

Amsterdam Food Guide

If you think of Amsterdam you don’t think of food. However if you try the food here in our Amsterdam food guide you might get lucky.

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Amsterdam Food Waffles

We are total foodies and our travelling has allowed our passion for food to grow considerably (not to mention our waist lines)!  We love trying new food when we visit foreign countries and always make a huge effort to eat the local cuisine. Check out some of the food we ate below in our cheap and delicious Amsterdam Food Guide.

Amsterdam Food Waffles

We had heard from a number of people that the Amsterdam food was nothing to rave about. To be honest food was not really our main interest in visiting but then again neither was an Amsterdam Peep show and we ended up enjoying that!

However we were pleasantly surprised. I think the people whom we had talked to had it wrong. Sure Holland doesn’t really have a local cuisine but once we got over this fact we realised there is still some damn good food to be had from the various Amsterdam Restaurants.

Amsterdam Food

The best meal we had was actually next door to the Red Light district in Chinatown. Crossing the canal to the east away from the neon lights your nostrils are attacked and your mouth begins salivating from the delicious smells wafting along the narrow cobbled streets.

As we walked into Bird Thai restaurant the enticing aroma hit us instantly leaving us drooling in anticipation. It was definitely up there with some of the best Thai food we have had. We went for the classic Green curry, fried rice and duck combo.

The Green curry was so flavoursome with the richness of the coconut milk blending perfectly with the traditional spices.  The duck was cooked to perfection and for the first few minutes of the meal all you could hear was the crunching of the crispy outside layer as we devoured the duck in minutes. Needless to say the fried rice was a taste explosion too!

Cheap and delicious Amsterdam food is easy to come by. With hangovers and munchies affecting your hunger it is no surprise that there are an abundance of Fast Food chains and takeaways in Amsterdam. In fact it was actually more the way that the fast food was served that surprised us as you could buy it out of massive vending machines at Febo!

Amsterdam Food Febo

Hidden workers stand behind the vending machines churning out burgers, fries and sausage rolls so all you has to do is insert a Euro and “hey presto” you have a hot meal in your hungry hands.

Then there were the frites stores which seemed to be on every corner. The first thing you noticed about these was the tantalising smell. There is nothing like the smell of chips straight out of the fryer and covered in salt to get you tummy rumbling. Served in a triangle cardboard carton and covered in mayo which meant that that you couldn’t reach the chips at the bottom without covering your greedy fingers in sauce. Just a tad annoying!

But there is nothing like hot chips to warm you up on a cold day.

Finally, while hot chocolates are not typically food I feel they still deserve a mention especially because the usually come paired with waffles! Ahhhh the perfect breakfast.

Amsterdam Hot Chocolate

We loved nipping into a cafe or bar like Cafe Bar Eddy in Amsterdam to warm ourselves up with a hot chocolate. It literally tasted like they had melted chocolate down and added cream. Heaven in a cup. And the choice of waffles was daunting as you could have whatever you wanted. Fruit, chocolate, syrups, cream or all of the above!

If you are heading here then don’t expect to find an array of traditional Amsterdam food. Instead treat yourself to a hot chocolate and waffle for breakfast, grab a quick bite from a vending machine and sample some of the different cuisines found near the Red Light District.

If you stick to this Amsterdam food guide then your taste buds will have a great holiday too!

If you have visited before then what did you think of Amsterdam food?

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Europe

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Check out our guide for the first timer in Amsterdam visiting a coffeeshop.

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How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Before getting started I just want to clarify that we are not drug users. We don’t condone using illegal drugs. And we are not telling you to go and smoke weed in Amsterdam. BUT, our goal of this travel blog is to help advise, educate and provide travel tips for ALL situations. So if you are headed to Amsterdam then we hope our guide to smoking weed in Amsterdam will help you out.

And check out this smoker friendly accommodation for your next trip.

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam Coffeeshop

When you tell people that you are visiting Amsterdam then they immediately think of one thing and one thing only. Weed. Dope. Herb. Buds. Spliff. Whacky Tobbacky. Pot. Marijuana. Cannabis. 

Call it what you will but just know that the biggest name for it is “ILLEGAL”.

Yes it is actually illegal to smoke weed in Amsterdam. But for now the Netherlands government do tolerate smoking in designated “coffeeshops”. This is slowly changing as the Government tries to moderate the tourism drug trade and in 2013 there will be new laws which we won’t go in to now as they are continuously changing.

In the meantime if you obey the rules, are not a moron and use our guide to smoking weed in Amsterdam then you are going to be fine.

Smoke weed in Amsterdam

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Don’t smoke weed in Amsterdam in public such as on the streets. There are over 300 designated coffee shops where you are tolerated to smoke weed. These places are regulated and everything is done in the open.

Don’t get confused and try to smoke in a koffiehuis (coffee house) which sells coffee and light meals or a café that is a casual restaurant and/or bar.

The coffeeshops are super easy to spot with marijuana leaves in the windows and Bob Marley paintings on the doors. Not to mention the smell wafting through the cold breeze. There will also be the usual tourists that have stupidly over-indulged and are glassy eyed.

We visited one of the five Bulldog coffeeshops when we were in Amsterdam and had no complaints. We even enjoyed a delicious hot chocolate while we were there!

Bulldog Coffeeshop in Amsterdam

Buying weed in Amsterdam

As long as you are over 18 then you will be allowed to buy up to 5 grams of weed in the regulated coffeeshops. Plus you have the added security knowing that your marijuana is not going to be laced with anything else if you are attempting to buy it off someone on the street. And who knows, they might be setting you up to get busted.

We were (and are) total amateurs and had no idea what to do once we actually stepped foot in the coffeeshop. But quickly sussed it out. There will generally be a “dealer bar” with full menu’s and everything for you to choose. So if you are an expert you will probably know what to order! Prices will of course vary by quantity (grams, bags, individual joints) and quality.

For a beginner ask lots of questions. Don’t be shy like we were. Ask the staff what they recommend and what effects each type has. They will know then that you are a newbie and will guide you. Just know that they are very accustomed to tourists who don’t know exactly how to go about the whole process.

What we found out is that it is actually perfectly fine for you to visit other coffeeshops and smoke weed that you have already purchased somewhere else. However, it is considered rude not to at least buy a hot chocolate or coffee if you do this. Coffeeshops do also have some of the best coffee in Amsterdam.

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Don’t be an idiot

Number 1 rule: Don’t smoke too much weed in Amsterdam! Even if you are a pot loving hippie from a commune you are probably going to find the marijuana really strong in Amsterdam. Just take it slow.

If you are enjoying a drink as well then again take it easy with the booze. All the coffeshops won’t sell you beer as well as cannabis.

EAT! Don’t go drinking and smoking on an empty stomach as cannabis lowers your blood sugar level and this can turn a fun day into a disaster if you haven’t eaten recently. Check out our Amsterdam Food Guide for some quick eating tips here.

A final word of warning, please watch out for the spacecake! Eating cannabis will knock you on your ass and is much stronger than when smoked.

Finally, enjoy yourselves and for goodness sake obey the rules, laws and customs while you are smoking weed in Amsterdam.

If you have an addiction to drugs then reach out and seek some help.

Check out these Weed Products for your next travel adventure.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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